EU countries’ chance to lead on whistleblower protection


Date : 07/10/2019

Berlin, 7 October 2019 - Today’s formal adoption of the EU Whistleblowing Directive creates a two-year window of opportunity for EU Member States to take the global lead on protecting whistleblowers as they transpose the directive into national law, Transparency International said today.

Transparency International today published analysis and recommendations to help Member States pass best-practice national laws that will effectively protect whistleblowers and support anti-corruption efforts in their country. Included are recommendations that national legislation should cover every possible whistleblowing situation and ensure that all whistleblowers are protected, including when they report on matters related to defence, security and classified information.

Position Paper: Building on the EU Directive for Whistleblower Protection


Marie Terracol, Whistleblowing Programme Coordinator at Transparency International, said: “The EU Directive goes commendably far and will prevent cases like that of the LuxLeaks whistleblower Antoine Deltour being repeated, but it is by nature limited to breaches of EU law in some areas. Member State governments should make sure their legislation fully protects whistleblowers who report on all breaches of law and threats to the public interest.”

“The Ukrainegate scandal in the USA has underscored the critical importance of whistleblowers in safeguarding democracy and preventing the abuse of power. Ambitious legislation in keeping with the spirit, not the letter, of the directive will make EU countries leaders in this field,” continued Terracol.

Transparency International also advises EU countries to strengthen the protection of whistleblowers in legal proceedings and to create national whistleblowing authorities responsible for the oversight and enforcement of whistleblowing legislation, and for collecting and publishing data on the functioning of the law. When setting up these bodies, attention to training is crucial. Best practices have indicated that for instance lawyers who defend whistleblowers achieve significantly better results if they are familiarised with the mechanisms that cause retaliation. In addition, activating public opinion with targeted journalistic campaigns also plays an important role in protecting the whistleblower and in successfully exposing the wrongdoing.

Over the next two years Transparency International will monitor the transposition of the EU Whistleblowing Directive to ensure that all people who speak up against wrongdoing and corruption are afforded adequate and equal protection.

For information: Hanneke de Visser, +32 2 893.25.84, hanneke.devisser@transparencybelgium.be